We're live with Mr. Chris Marhefka. We're going to be talking about dealing with uncertainty. This is a very common theme. I'm witnessing and experiencing people wanting to know what to do with the uncertainty in their own lives, but also a lot of coaches who are going, "Wow! There's a lot of uncertainty in my clients' lives and I want to know how to help them as well."
Table Of Content
- Meeting Chris Mahefka
- How To Deal with Uncertainty
- Chris Before and After Training Camp For The Soul
- Finding Alignment and Creating Structure From It
- Learning and Unlearning
- Detoxification Process
Meeting Chris Mahefka
Mike: Before we go any further, quick introduction of Chris. Chris and I met two years ago. It's two years ago this month, in fact. We were waiting in line to go pee at an event in Austin, Texas for the Paleo f(x).
Chris: I was taking things so serious and shit wasn't going well. And when I met you, you were shirt off, smoking a hand-rolled tobacco cigarette at this business conference. We were talking strategy and all these business tactics and tools. You're just literally shirt off, just sunning yourself. I'm like, "Who the fuck does this guy think he is?" So triggered. So triggered.
If Bren had not engaged you, we probably would have never met because I was like, "Fuck this guy, man." I was like, "Seriously fuck this guy." And I did, however, we sat at the table, I took my shirt off. That's when I started to warm up to you a little bit right there, right there. And then we sat together at the breakout table.
It was funny because we're standing around the house that we lived together in Imperial Beach. I opened my journal to that page of the advice that you gave me. It was ironic because I didn't want to take that advice and then, a year and a half later, I realized that I took all of the advice and didn't even know it. And that was because I went backtracking the one question that Bren asked was, "What work have you done," because of the aura and then, just the easygoingness and the self-assuredness. And she asked, was like, "I want some of that. What have you done?"
And it was just a different energy than everyone was putting off at this conference. I think you had just, I don't know when you did. This was in April of '18.
From hating me to running Training Camp For The Soul
Mike: I'd worked with Anat and then we changed. She was doing a program called Journey to Love. I said, "That's not going to work and this is more than that." And so we changed it to training camp, started working with her, started Training Camp for the Soul. That's what I told Brendon and Chris. I said, "Training Camp for the Soul is what I did."
Mike: Fast-forward to today, Chris is now the CEO of Training Camp for the Soul. He went from being triggered and hating me to running the company that caused my transformation.
How To Deal with Uncertainty
Mike: What I want to know is, because here's the deal. We're going to be talking about uncertainty and I know the people learn the best through story. Can you describe to us where you were at before Training Camp for the Soul, describe to me what business was like, and then what type of uncertainty you were facing then? Because uncertainty's nothing new. People's perception of uncertainty has definitely shifted in the last month and that's why we're talking about this right now.
In the last year, I've witnessed you take so many what other people would consider to be risks and you did things that other people would consider to be crazy for the purpose of stepping in and following your heart and trusting the things, the universe and that things were going to work out in the best possible situation.
Would you say that your life has been, because of all these things you did that were fucking scary, that were uncertain, that you're living a much better life now, something that's more fulfilling?
Chris: Exponentially more fulfilling, for sure.
Chris Before and After Training Camp for the Soul
Mike: Tell us where you were at. Let's rewind a year and a half ago. after we met and then where was your business and where was your mind?
Chris: I'll rewind it a little bit previous to that, because it's part of the story. I had been in business for about 10 years as an entrepreneur. I'd built a gym and built it to run without me completely which is a dream.
I had also started a meal delivery company April '14. I also sold that one, too, but at that time, when I met you, I had grown it to be very profitable. It was successful on a local and a regional scale. In 2017, I made a massively ego-based decision to scale it nationwide at the end of '17.
When I met you in April of '18, it was going the worst I imagined it could go. We were doing a lot of revenue. We're doing about seven figures in revenue or almost, but we were not making money on every package that we shipped out. We actually losing money because of marketing costs and packaging costs.
At one point, I think around that point, I was personally because I actually self-funded it all. I didn't take on investors. I was personally losing about $2,000 a day. It was the most stressful time in my life.
Every time I would go to bed, I was, "Oh, yeah. It's another $2,000." And so, it's incredibly stressful. there was so much uncertainty in my life because I had basically poured all of what I had built in 10 years into this and it wasn't going well. I trusted a lot of people in the process that just didn't come through. I was really what I would call rock bottom emotionally and mentally.
Meeting Mike at Paleo f(x)
Chris: Fast-forward, I meet you at this conference and then end up having to call with Anat, discovery call. I was so resistant at that point because I didn't see that the common denominator to all these decisions and everything that was happening was me, because I wasn't fulfilled in my relationship, I wasn't fulfilled in my business, I wasn't fulfilled in my life, mostly because I was working 80, 100 hours a week and my business was my life and I wasn't fulfilled there.
I had no social life outside of that. My health was deteriorating. I'm here owning a gym and a healthy meal delivery company and I'm stressed out. I'm not sleeping. I'm putting on weight, I'm not even working out anymore, and all my energy's going to this and I'm just miserable.
I have this discovery call and I can't see this connection, that the common denominator in all of this is me. resistance, resistance, resistance. Finally, I have what I call the turning point. I have a breakdown. I'm driving back from Thanksgiving with family. I'm driving home. I'm having this emotional breakdown.
Breaking down with all the uncertainty
Chris: My then partner was in the car. She was going through the beta version of Training Camp for the Soul's virtual program. She's like, "I see everything." She had just finished it actually. She's like, "I see everything here." But, just like all of us, we can't be told what we need. We have to figure it out on our own.
Me finally breaking down with all the uncertainty of life, uncertainty of my finances, uncertainty of my relationships, and I finally break down. I'm like, "All right. I'm going to do it." I started the virtual program, the Training Camp for the Soul January of 2019.
For people that don't know my story, I've now gotten out of both of those businesses, sold both of those businesses, I sold my house and everything in it, I moved across the country from Florida to California. I basically quit the job that I had before. I had another job which is now as CEO and facilitator of Training Camp for the Soul. I didn't have that when I just made all these decisions. I didn't have a place to live when I moved across the country. My wife and I ended up separating and potentially now divorcing.
And so, all of these are not easy decisions by any means, but they were all exactly what my heart told me I should be doing. Massive uncertainty in all of those.
And that's the conversation I'm having with people is that, like you start the call with, uncertainty is not new. We just haven't seen it all at the same time, but how often do we have layoffs in companies? We have relationships ending. We have loved ones passing away. We have car accidents. Whatever it is. Life is always happening to us. Now, it's just happening to all of us at the same time in a common theme.
Mike: I want to bring this down to a more practical conversation because people go, "What the fuck are they talking about structure?"
A structure that most Americans go through is around five or six years old, they start going to school. They know that their day starts at 7:00, 8:00, 9:00 a.m. and then it goes until 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. and then they get off of school, they get off of work.
And so there is this, the entire, all of our society is in this rhythm. everyone's getting up, everyone's doing about the same thing. That we have the weekends off to do all this stuff so there's this rhythm that we and a structure that we inherit and most people never question.
And so, when you get a structure that's always been there and it gets yanked out from underneath you, it can be very destabilizing. Well, a lot of people before this situation myself, Chris, anyone in Strong Coach, all the Strong Coach staff, Training Camp for the Soul staff, anyone who's been through Training Camp for the Soul.
We have all gone through the process of saying, "All right. I'm going to take all the structure that I inherited and I'm going to wipe it away. I'm going to find my internal alignment and then create structure based off of my new alignment," and so I get to build a whole new life based on what it is I truly desire and what I … Not what I inherited, but what I can create from nothing and so what my soul wants to create.
Finding Alignment and Creating Structure from It
Mike: For you, what is that process, because a lot of times, if we just create a structure and it's still not going to be fulfilling. It's not going to be satisfying. We have to go back to the alignment conversation. Find alignment and then create new structure from alignment. What does that process look like? What is alignment and how do you find it?
Chris: Alignment is the thoughts, the words, the action, the emotions, all being in the same direction. If you're the type of person that says, "I want to be healthy," but you're sleeping four hours a night and you're drinking eight cups of coffee and you keep eating crap. That's not in alignment.
For the way that we teach, it actually comes from inside. We call it your heart first. Then, it goes out from there. That controls your thoughts and then your words, you speak from that. It starts with first learning how to listen to what you really want in the first place. Who you really are and that is difficult for many people because oftentimes, there's layers on top of it that is what we've been told we should be or what we should say or what we should be doing.
Stripping away old beliefs
Chris: Our process is stripping away a lot of that program or at least making us aware of it. This is something that you believe only because mom or dad believed it or only because that was something you learned in school or church or religion.
When you become aware to all these things, I started choosing the ones that I really liked. I was like, "Oh, I love that this is the characteristics I inherited." Then, there was another thing that was like, "Oh, this belief, I can see where this is showing up and it's making every relationship shitty." Or it's making me, in my case, one of my stories was that life had to be hard and suffering to be successful.
When I was able to identify that and pull out really where that came from, mostly from my dad and my dad's side of the family and I was able to replace it with life can be easy. It can flow with ease and grace. I started to reaffirm that and I started to find evidence in my life where really it could be easy. That became my new operating script.
Checking in and journaling
Chris: We use this term checking in. Really, all that is is taking a pause, taking a breath, sometimes going to the journal. I journal all the time now throughout the day and really just writing out what's actually going on in that head of mine. What I realize through going through this process was there's a few voices in there and they all have really distinct ways of speaking.
I started to learn to listen to them all and then really make the decision from my heart and what I really wanted. I was like, "Oh, great. This programming's still there, okay, that wants me to do this and this voice over here thinks that that's a terrible idea and there's a lot few …" I'm like, "Okay. Great. And then, what does the heart want?"
And so, we have an exercise we call the dinner table. It's a way of journaling out and listening to all those voices and really identifying them and then deciding which one you actually want to listen to. The truth is, for me, I was listening to my ego most of the time, my ego and my inner critic and I-
Mike: Can you give us an idea of what the ego sounds like?
Chris: The ego is … I think about all my business decisions were based on more money. It was based on bigger. It was based on status. It was based on what other people think. yeah. All my friends are growing bigger businesses. I got to grow a bigger business.
And I realized that that started early on for me when it was the people that were in my extended family, the ones that were talked about at the family gatherings were the ones that were making the most money. We were at Christmas with 75 people of all the extended family. All the stories were about Uncle Joe that was doing this and he was just making a ton of money. And I was like, "Oh! That's what I should be doing."
And the concept that is underlying all of this is all of this, all these voices, all this programming is, it's not who we are. It's not our identity. That's not me. That's just what I've learned and what I've been doing, but just because I learned it, I can also unlearn it and relearn something new. That's exactly what I did and what we do at Training Camp for the Soul is we teach people how to unlearn the things that they don't like and relearn something else that served them. Yeah, now's the time.
Learning and Unlearning
Mike: I'm learning parts of your identity and then relearning. That's some deep shit, man. That's a thing that most people … I get in conversations a lot and one of the things that I love meditating on is what can I unlearn and learn new? The thing is, I've gotten to the conclusion that I can learn and unlearn anything. Nothing is set, but here's the thing is my mind is limited on what that means. I can say that verbally.
Because I've been meditating on this unlearning and relearning anything for years, I keep on finding new layers. I go, "Oh, shit. I can unlearn that, too? " These are deep cultural learnings, things that everybody agrees on. Then, you see where it comes from and where that started culturally. You go, "Holy shit!" That's reality because everyone is agreeing on it, but if I disagree with it, I don't stop being here.
And then, not only that, if I try on believing something differently, what's my life look like? I actually like it better like this. And then, so then you may end up being considered a crazy person with the vast majority when you go through this practice, but when you get to that point, you don't give a fuck. You're like, "People think you're crazy." It's like, " Okay."
If me being crazy means I can travel the world at will and make enough money, I'm surrounded by people I love and they love me, deep connection I didn't even know was possible. When I work, it's the most fulfilling thing.
I'm in one spot right now. I'm used to just bouncing all over the place. At first, I go, "My lifestyle is changing." I was curious. I'm like, "How am I going to respond to this?" I haven't been told to stop and stay in one place in years, I mean, maybe my whole life, I would say since the military was the last time I was told I had to do anything. I'm going, "How am I going to respond? I don't know." It was the best time ever.
Unlearning is emotionally demanding
Mike: And going to these processes are emotionally demanding. The unlearning is a destructive process. When we talk about destruction, we can be talking about unlearning. It can feel destructive. For one, is, for me, when I think about the definition of learning, learning equals behavior change and unlearning would be undoing a behavior.
If you truly unlearn something, there is the result of that is your behavior's changed. And if your behavior changes, your environment changes, your relationships change. Everything changes the moment that you stop behaving a certain way or start behaving a new way.
What that means is things that were happening will stop happening and for a lot of people who are used to you behaving a certain way, they're going to see that as a destructive process. There's also certain things that just go away that were part of the way life was and you don't know what it's going to be replaced with. It takes a lot of trust to know that it's going to be replaced with something.
And if you're living in alignment and it's being replaced with something that's in alignment and it's easy to intellectualize that, but the emotional experience of going through that unlearning is, for me, is a lot of grieving.
Thank you for the destruction
Mike: For guys like Chris and me, who have been through, at this point, countless encounters with destruction for the purpose of doing something better on either side, it's obvious. It's like, "" And there's a level of comfort that we get to enjoy because we've had this experience of what we call unlearning, destruction, death, ego death. There's all these things that are commonly referred to as individuals that are being experienced on a collective level right now.
For all of us individuals, it can be scary. I've experienced moments of fear in this. Then, I go, "Oh, yeah. This is just like my own transformation." The world is going through a transformation. Cool. Now, it's a celebration. It makes it easy to work.
Chris: It does and it's not. You can celebrate while still not knowing what it's going to be. That's one of the practices that I took on when I was in the middle of a lot of the destruction and I didn't know what it was going to look like. What I started doing was I started saying, "Thank you for the destruction because I know there's going to be a gift." The sooner I started saying, "Thank you," the sooner the gift would show up because I was looking for it, as opposed to if you think it's always going to be destruction, you're going to continue to see destruction, but if you can start saying, "Thank you for this." In the case of a lot of people with work, "Thank you for this. Fucking hated my job." It's like, "I didn't want to be going every day."
And so, yeah. "Wow, thank you. Now, I have an opportunity to see things differently." That perspective shift to what could come out of this that could benefit me is just a different perspective than most people have and people are being forced into it now.
Mike: Oh, the thing about voluntary verse involuntary detoxification. And so, detoxification is just when the body has been overloaded with something that doesn't belong there or doesn't bring health and now it needs to do something extreme to do something out of the ordinary in order to flush it out
Alot of times, when people get the flu or they get a cold or whatever, it's actually what we look at as the flu, the symptoms of the flu are actually a detoxification process.
You're getting mucus in your throat. We can talk about COVID-19 is you're getting mucus in the throat. Your body is trying to get rid of shit. If it can't get rid of shit fast enough, then it can kill you, so and it's a detoxification process.
To me, there is, all right, how capable is my body of detoxifying just regularly like normal health and then how much exposure to things I need to detox from are building up in the system. Then, those are the two big things. The same thing we can say with culture, what society is. What have we, what I think is we're not very robust in our ability to handle that and then we're not healthy. It's not a healthy society. Then, things have built up and now, this is where we're at. The economy is also going to suffer in some ways. Things are going to have to shut down for a period of time as the Earth, the planet and I can talk about it, the human race detoxes. we're having a big detox phase.
But, here's the deal. For those of us who do a really good job of taking care of our health, we choose detoxification. there's voluntary and there's involuntary. 99% of the population waits until there's too much and the body says, "Fuck you. I'm detoxing you." And now, you're miserable in bed and you can't get out. That's what's happening to the whole planet right now.
And then, there's voluntary, voluntary detoxification. There's fasting. There is cutting out certain things. There is, you can sweat it out. You can do combo. We do combo to detox our organs and our body. I say, between fasting and combo, there's two really easy things that we do that are detoxifying in nature. There's a lot of other stuff.
A detoxing process is uncomfortable. There's hardly ever anything comfortable about detox. The difference is, when you choose detox, you get to choose when you do it. It's on your schedule. It doesn't interrupt something, it's not a surprise and it's usually shorter and less uncomfortable than when you wait.
What we're experiencing is society is going through an involuntary detoxification process. Those of us have done a really good job of detoxing regularly are more able to withstand, so when I talk about detoxing, I'm also talking about mental detox, emotional detox.
Shifts in the conversation
Chris: I mean, it's easy to relate on the physical, but when you talk about culturally, as a whole, worldwide society, there's not much data.
Mike: People in the world who have been saying, they haven't been using the word detox, but they're saying, "Hey. We need to change how we do things. This isn't good."
Chris: And I've been saying that. I speak to it all the time about how unsustainable, that's how I refer to it, is how unsustainable is our lifestyle individually and as a culture? That's the thing about being unsustainable is there is a time when it becomes unsustainable. Not sustaining and now it's not sustaining. yeah. We get to shift. It's a gift.
Mike: When you talk about sustainability, there's adaptability. People who are choosing to adapt from moment to moment and people who would rather ignore. They get those pain, they're like, "Fuck this. I'm not going to change. I like the way things are," even though the warning signals are coming. It's like, "Don't bother me. Don't bother me. Life is good." Now, it's like, "Fuck you."
Chris: I'm actually, in a lot of ways, this probably triggers a lot of people. I'm glad the quarantine period is extending and extending because I think there's so many people that were thinking like, "Oh, we'll hang out home for a couple of days and then we'll go back to business as usual." The business as usual was the problem.
I'm starting to see shifts in the conversations that I'm having that like, "Oh, maybe this isn't just going back to life before. Maybe I do have to change something." it's always this period of how much discomfort is enough discomfort to make a change? That's how all change happens is we get to be uncomfortable. Everyone has a different threshold for that.